This blog post was co-written with senior research associate Erna Esa.

Over the past few months, we have diligently reviewed the mobile banking services of five retail banks in Australia and three retail banks in New Zealand. We used our mobile banking functionality and digital user experience methodologies to find out who the mobile banking leaders in Australia and New Zealand are. And the results are out: In Australia, CommBank takes the top spot thanks to its impressive usability and strong functionality features, with Westpac coming in a very close second. In our inaugural New Zealand mobile banking benchmark, KiwiBank has edged out BNZ with good usability.

Here are some key takeaways from this year’s benchmarks:

  • Leaders stand out with strong functionality features and great user experience . . . Many Australian banks offer mobile banking services with strong functionality and slightly above average usability. This is a result of digital teams having fostered strong relationships between their customer experience, digital business strategy, and technology management teams. The digital teams have also adopted an iterative test-and-learn process, with cross-functional teams taking an Agile approach of experimentation, measurement, and quick adjustment to drive success.
  • . . . and differentiate with innovative features. CommBank not only lets customers pay a bill by taking a photo of it, but they can also set up future payments, get notifications when a new bill arrives, and receive electronic bills from billers directly in the app. Westpac promotes products based on what the bank knows about the customer, such as her life stage and recent purchases. For instance, knowing that a customer has recently moved, the bank recommends a credit card that offers her extended warranty benefits for new purchases such as electronic applicances for her new home.  
  • Usability differs between Australian and New Zealand banks. Providing a great user experience through consistent use of tone and style builds customers’ trust. Our usability review showed that on average, Australian banks provide a better digital user experience compared to their New Zealand counterparts. Leading banks help customers to find what they are looking for, minimize the steps to complete their banking tasks, and avoid or recover from errors. CommBank and ANZ use a restrained number of variant text sizes, colors, icons and form features throughout their apps, which helps the customer find patterns in the design faster. Kiwibank uses jargon-free labels such as “Transfer money  – between your accounts” to avoid confusion when navigating the app.

Although banks are making improvements in their digital capabilities, they still have a way to go. None of the banks we evaluated offers customers a holistic approach to help them with their financial challenges and to achieve their financial goals. Our colleagues Aurélie L’Hostis and Benjamin Ensor have also written a report on digital money management.

To find out more about the best practices from our evaluation of Australian and New Zealand retail banks, please click on the following links: 2017 Australian Mobile Banking Benchmark and 2017 New Zealand Mobile Banking Benchmark.